Knowing God Intimately
Part of the Codependent in Colossians Series
by Kim Pullen | January 25, 2018
Series Manifesto: Instead of ignoring the pain following the disclosure of our spouse’s sexual sin, we choose to use our trauma as a catalyst for growth, digging deeply into God’s Word in search of spiritual healing and transformation.
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,…”
This is the third in a five-part miniseries on Colossians 1:10-12.
In Part 1 of this deeper examination of Colossians 1:10-12, I addressed how everybody including those of us with codependent tendencies need to get our worth from God. In Part 2, I shared how we need to evaluate our motives for bearing fruit for God to make sure we’re doing it because we’re already loved and not to earn God’s love. In this section, we’re going to take a deeper look into what it really means to grow in our knowledge of God.
The “Burden” of Growth
In every New Testament conversion, the new disciple comes to a knowledge of God through a facilitator or mentor. Acts 2:36-41, 8:34-38, 9:17-19, 16:29-33, 18:24-26 are just a few examples. Although the mentor’s role is to teach the new convert everything that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:20), the ultimate responsibility for growth rests firmly in the hands of the new disciple (Philippians 2:12, Hebrews 5:14).
It is in our personal Bible study, we are to move beyond the elementary teachings which brought us to Christ in the first place and dig into the fathomless treasure-trove hidden there (Colossians 2:2-3).
Some practical ways we can do that is by using online tools like Bible Hub and Bible Gateway. Supplementary reading resources can also help us to understand the cultural differences between Biblical times and current cultural norms. But our most precious resource is the Holy Spirit itself who “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I [Jesus] have said to you” (John 14:26).
But it’s not enough to study the Bible to gain knowledge. The original Greek word used for “knowledge” in Colossians 1:10 is epignósis and it means recognition or first-hand, experiential knowing. It’s not having a dry, unemotional connection with the scriptures like that displayed by some professors of theology, but rather like the Hebrew word yada used in Genesis 4:1 when describing the intimate relationship between Adam and Eve.
If we want to get to know any other human being, we have to engage them, make ourselves vulnerable (if they’re safe), and entrust them with a secret part of ourselves. It’s the same when we grow in our knowledge of God. We have to engage Him, make ourselves vulnerable to Him (He is safety incarnate), and give Him the most vulnerable parts of ourselves (Jeremiah 29:12-13).
Growing in the knowledge of God also means being able to recognize His hand working in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I know my husband and children so well, I can recognize their voice with a single word. With a single look, I can recognize when their sad, mad, happy, or sick.
Jesus expected us to know him so well that we’d actually recognize His voice amid all the other voices clamoring for our attention every day (John 10:3-5).
Pruning & Growth
We love growing. Bearing spiritual fruit in the forms of godly qualities or bringing someone to Christ is incredibly fulfilling. But just as winter withers my lovely crape myrtles each year and requires me to trim them back so they can grow lush and full in the spring, so God must step in and prune me as well.
We don’t love pruning, or what the scriptures call discipline (Hebrews 12:7-11). Most of us will do anything to avoid being corrected by God or people. As a codependent, I unnaturally equate discipline with disapproval and rejection—another one of Satan’s lies. Pruning or discipline is all part of God’s plan for us to be even more fruitful (John 15:2). This is another example of where I need to discern Jesus’ voice over Satan’s and run away from the lies (John 10:5).
During my four-year separation from my husband, there were times when I questioned whether God was being a little overzealous in His pruning of me.
Four years, God? Really?
But my wise Father proved (again) His timing is perfect: “He has made everything beautiful in its time…no one can fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
So if you are reading your Bible every day, that’s awesome. But don’t stop there. God is waiting for you to engage and connect with Him. Give Him the most vulnerable parts of yourself and you’ll get to know Him on a deeper level than you ever thought possible.
Join the conversation: Share with others in the comments section below what methods you’ve used to get to know God on an intimate level. Or try creating an intimacy manifesto to God. Learn more in my free eBook, The Intimacy Manifesto.
Also published on Medium.